CITIES: Disappearing Mayor

A century ago New Bedford, Mass, sent whaling ships around the world, and its picturesque wharves fairly groaned with the raw material of period novels. But today New Bedford (pop. 110,000) is a textile mill town. Its Yankees have long since been joined by thousands of Irish, Portuguese, Greeks and Italians. It is old, shabby, resigned, and tolerant of both vulgarity and venality in politics as long as they are kept within reasonable bounds. When a glib, promise-'em-everything, ex-cotton salesman named Edward Peirce (pronounced purse) was elected mayor 20 months ago, New Bedford was undisturbed—even though it was fairly obvious...

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